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Commentary: a fast Airport Railway Line is a crucial investment in the competitiveness and accessibility of Finland

Published
17.5.2019 at 09:00
Katja Siberg
A fast railway connection from Tampere to Helsinki via Helsinki Airport would improve millions of Finns’ international connectivity and support tourism to Finland. That’s why the Airport Line is the most important traffic investment to be made in the near future, says Katja Siberg, Senior Vice President of marketing and communication at Finavia.

What if you could reach Helsinki Airport from Tampere in less than an hour, or just 15 minutes from the centre of Helsinki? What if a citizen of Jyväskylä would be only a couple hours’ train ride away from a range of international flight connections, and a tourist from Asia could continue their trip to Central Finland straight from Helsinki Airport on tracks? 

All this would be enabled by the Airport Line – a new, fast railway connection from Tampere to Helsinki via Helsinki Airport.  

We at Finavia work to improve Finns’ connections to the world and strengthen the international accessibility of all areas in Finland. That’s why we strongly support investments into better railway transport. The building of the Airport line, especially, should be fast-tracked. As the current capacity of the main Tampere-Helsinki line becomes inadequate, it will create increasing problems to the reliability of railway connections. The Airport Line would solve this problem while also raising Helsinki Airport’s connectivity to an internationally competitive level.

We’re pleased to see the latest developments in Finnish rail transport, and wish that the Airport Line project advances with speed during the next term of government, as it is clearly the most important transport investment of the near future.  

Benefits for passengers, businesses and tourism

Why do we support the Airport Line? Firstly, it would make travelling smoother for both our domestic and international passengers. It would bring a direct connection to Helsinki Airport from the directions of Tampere and Lahti – and via them, most of Finland – cutting down travel time by 15 to 20 minutes. At the same time, travel time from Helsinki city centre to the airport would be cut in half.

Passengers today expect fast and smooth connections. The Airport Line would enable them to combine flight and railway connections into one smooth travel chain, both when leaving Finland and when travelling here. Finns from many areas of our country could travel to Europe in the morning and reach home by night. Transfer passengers could make a quick visit to Helsinki city on their stopover and tourists travelling here could reach new destinations in Central Finland with ease.

We at Finavia, along with our partners, have worked hard – and with success – to enable the growth of tourism in Lapland. It would be great to see tourists from around the world similarly discovering the beautiful lakeside vistas of the Finnish lake district.  

But most importantly, the Airport Line would be an investment into Finland’s competitiveness as a whole, as faster connections would support the attractiveness of growth areas in Southern Finland as well as counties in Central Finland.  

Supporting climate goals

The climate impacts of flying have garnered a lot of public attention lately. We at Finavia want to enable flying for Finns also in the future, which is why we work hard to mitigate our impacts. It is however natural that in the future aviation will concentrate more on long-distance flying while its importance in short distance transport may decline. The Airport Line would be part of this development and would support Finland in reaching its climate goals by bringing a low-emission alternative to driving and short-distance flying.

Improving railway connections would benefit the Tampere area greatly, and we also see that Tampere Airport would continue strong operations as it serves direct international traffic, as well as training purposes and Finnish Air Force operations. It’s unlikely that all traffic would switch to the railway, and many passengers would still continue to use Tampere Airport as a gate to the world via Helsinki Airport.  

Without great connections, Finland is an island. That’s why we need to make investments into developing the accessibility of our country. We at Finavia have worked hard to make Helsinki Airport one of the best networked airports in Northern Europe with excellent connections to the entire world. Now, it is time to link all of Finland even more smoothly to our flight offering. The Airport Line would be the natural next step in this work. 

Read the commentary by Kimmo Mäki on international emission solutions.

Red more about Helsinki Airport's future travel centre combining different ways of transport

Watch a video about Finavia’s corporate responsibility – the Sum of Good things.

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